In anticipation of our upcoming Human Rights Film Series, we present a series of blog posts that feature biographies of our visiting filmmakers. Keep an eye out for more as we ramp up for our kick off event October 2nd. The Center for Social Media welcomes Producer Paco de Onis and Director Pamela Yates to American University as they screen their most recent film, The Reckoning, in the Katzen Center on Thursday, October 29 as part of the Human Rights Film Series. In this latest venture, de Onis and Yates follow International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and his team as they push to bring some of the worst violators of human rights—including Congolese warlords and leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda—to justice for their actions. Spanning 4 continents, the film tells the stories of those affected by genocide and other crimes against humanity, and the international push to try to hold accountable those responsible for their actions.
Yates describes the film, which took three years to make, as “the most difficult film I’ve ever made.” On top of facing dangerous filming conditions in politically unstable areas, they had to discover how to tell a compelling story about a complex judicial institution—a story that could explain the importance of the International Criminal Court and rally support for it.
But both Yates and de Onis were well prepared for the challenge The Reckoning presented. As collaborators for Skylight Films, a production company committed to producing independent documentary films on human rights issues, de Onis and Yates previously worked on State of Fear, a film that tells the story of Peru’s 20-year “war on terror,” based on the findings of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They also brought years of additional experience to the process: de Onis as a seasoned news producer and producer of films for National Geographic, PBS and MSNBC; and Yates as an award-winning filmmaker who has been digging into stories about human rights and social justice issues—including poverty, racism and the justice system—for over 20 years. Their combined experience and passion for the story of the ICC makes The Reckoning a powerful and moving film and we are proud to include it in this year’s Human Rights Film Series. Please visit our Human Rights Film Series event page for more details on the dates and times.